Rolling rolling rolling. The list keeps on unfolding. This is where drafts start to get interesting, as everyone should have a foundation of two players in 12-team leagues. Choose wisely. Ok, enough babbling. Let’s get chugging along. Choo chooooo!
Here are the links for:
26) Donovan Mitchell (SG – Utah Jazz)
Back in the Top 10 for 2018 piece, I wrote that Viz was a Jazz fan and had me bump up a player. Well, if you haven’t guessed already, that player was Donovan Mitchell. I love DMitch and for those that read my work last season, you know I was bullish on him from the Summer League. With that said, I gave him slight bumps from last year’s numbers, but something didn’t look right. He ended up in the 50s overall, I believe. Viz immediately pointed it out and we discussed things. I kind of felt that he was close to being maxed out, as he had a 31.8 usage rate, which was top 5 in the league. He also hoisted up over 17 shots per game. But Viz is wise for a reason. He illuminated that it took time for DMitch to get to the level, and by the end of the season, he was chucking over 20 shots per game. Yeah. Maxed out schmaxed out. I did boost up shot attempts, boards, and dimes, but not by ridiculous amounts. 26 for DMitch looks right, but there’s still upside. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up closer to the Top 10, but I can’t project him for that, especially since the Jazz were 25th in offensive pace last season.
27) John Wall (PG – Washington Wizards)
Points, assists, and D stats make you go….
Field goal percentage and turnovers, though?
The end result?
28) Al Horford (C – Boston Celtics)
Perenially underrated and meh at the same time, Al indeed does it all. He just doesn’t knock your socks off in any category. Good shooting percentages, low turnovers, rebounds, blocks, with assists and Threeecolas from the center position are muy caliente. Will never win a week for you, but is a solid foundational piece to have. The return of Kyrie Irving should definitely help. Below are the splits for games played with and without Kyrie. Keep in mind that the sample size is only 11 games.
Here are my projections for Horford:
29) Tobias Harris (PF – Los Angeles Clippers)
The theme for the top players in fantasy is that they all contribute across the board. Hint: you want to grab as many as possible. The specialists come later. Harris is no exception. At 6′ 9″ 235 pounds, he can play both the 3 and 4, shoots from all three levels, and accumulates defensive stats. I didn’t get to watch him much when he was in Detroit, but that changed when he arrived in LA. I was thoroughly impressed each time. Below are the splits for his time in Detroit and Los Angeles:
Looks like Harris enjoys Los Angeles. Remember that Blake Griffin guy who was traded for Harris and is owed $31 million per season? Well, he dishes out more dimes, but other than that, Harris either matches or surpasses his production, especially in steals and blocks. Harris is owed a shade under $15 million. Jerry Freaking West. If you’re about Narrative Street, Harris turned down an $80 million extension this offseason and will play out the year to get piggidy paid next offseason.
30) Eric Bledsoe (PG – Milwaukee Bucks)
The steals are elite and Bledsoe provides assists. The boards are nice from the guard position. But…but…but….the turnovers and poor shooting percentage are no bueno. I’m not sure Bledsoe is the best fit alongside G on the offensive end. I’m not sure basketball is Bledsoe’s best sport, as I always envision him being a absurd running back. With that said, he’s a maven on defense and fits perfectly with G from that perspective.
31) Deandre Ayton (C – Phoenix Suns)
Ayton was the player that jumped off the page for me when I initially did the rankings. What’s crazy is that I actually had him higher! Viz was shocked as well, but after discussing things over, we bumped him down a bit but concluded that things kind of made sense. I wasn’t a big Ayton guy during the draft process. I thought Doncic was the clear number one and Ayton was lacking in IQ and defensive prowess. With that said, I can’t deny the physical ability and situation, as the Suns stink and should play their young guys a ton of minutes. In addition, they played at the second-fastest pace in the league last season, and I see no reasons why that would change. Now, Ayton is a rookie so he’s tough to project. He had his moments in Summer League, but didn’t impress the way Donovan Mitchell did last year. I think he has a chance to be elite in field goal percentage and decent in free throw percentage. A potential double-dub machine seems to be in the works and, as much as I think his D sucks, he did block 1.9 per game in college. He’s going to be an interesting to watch this upcoming season. For shits and giggles, I went back at looked at the rookie years for players that I’ve heard Ayton comped to: Karl-Anthony Towns and David Robinson.
HAHAHAHAHAHAH! I forgot how awesome The Admiral was. Geez.
My projections for Ayton this season:
32) Jamal Murray (PG – Denver Nuggets)
The Nuggets were 7th in offensive pace for the 2016 season. Last season, they ended up 17th in pace. I think the Nuggets will return into the top 10 for pace, as I believe that Coach Malone likes the up-tempo, free-flowing offense best and will look to push the ball in transition. More pace equals more possessions which equals more potential fantasy goodies. The assist and rebounding numbers aren’t great, but he does chip in. Don’t expect many blocks and the field goal percentage is a slight negative, but the Threeecolas should be plentiful and he should rack up around a steal per game. The free throw percentage is elite as well, if you’re into that sort of thing. I may be a bit too aggressive in ranking Murray here, as how much more upside is there and what impact will Isaiah Thomas have? With that said, I like the situation and he’s still only 21 years old.
33) Gary Harris (SG – Denver Nuggets)
I told you I love the Nuggets and think they get back to their run-and-gun ways. The field goal percentage is excellent for a guard and the low turnovers are nice. He’s basically Jamal Murray-lite; just a tad fewer rebounds and assists. The steals, though.
34) DeAndre Jordan (C – Dallas Mavericks)
That song always hits the spot. Anyways, DJ left LA for Dallas for a moment, then ran back home, only to return back to Dallas. Man, the Mavericks are going to be a really fun team to watch. Y’all know my love for Dennis Smith Jr. Now, they’ve added Luka Doncic. Remember what happened the first time you had sex? Exactly. Lob City is going to be replaced by Luka-Oop County, as everything in Texas is bigger. What gets me more excited is the fact that I think the Mavs will play at a faster pace this season. I haven’t seen it reported, but it’s just a feeling, as I do have respect for Rick Carlisle and seen him adjust gameplans to personnel in the past. Back to DJ. Elite in field goal percentage, rebounds, and blocks, but a turd for free throw percentage. Have fun.
35) Klay Thompson (SG – Golden State Warriors)
Chinese water torture is drip…drip…drip…drip…drip. In Golden State? Splash splash splash! The Warriors have three players that are in top 25 for projected Threeecolas made per game! The crazy thing is that they were only 17th in attempts as a team, but ended 8th in makes. The 39.1% conversion rate was head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Quality over quantity. Back to Klay. He won’t wow you in the ancillary categories, but does just enough to remain a net positive in all except rebounds.
36) Bradley Beal (SG – Washington Wizards)
After failing to play at least 64 games in three of his first four seasons in the NBA, Beal has now racked up back-to-back seasons with 77 and 82 games played respectively. I love watching Beal play. So smooth and has a beautiful J. It makes sense that a sharp shooter has the initials BB right? Or gets hot like Jessica? Good thing no one reads these blurbs. The differences between Beal and Klay are that BB will give more assists and steals, but also more turnovers and slightly fewer blocks. Klay trumps in Threeecolas, both made and in efficiency.
37) Kawhi Leonard (SF – Toronto Raptors)
I gave my thoughts about Kawhi on the pod, so if you want to hear my 976 voice, go click and listen. If you don’t, I understand because the experience could be too much for you to handle. For you mental and emotional midgets, I acknowledge that Kawhi could end up being a top 5 player for fantasy. He’s that good. And that Raptors team could be a juggernaught. With that said, I have some serious reservations. For starters, he’s never played more than 74 games in a season and has only reached 70 in two of the seven years he’s been a professional. Granted, some of it is due to Pop skillfully navigating the regular season, but Kawhi has also experienced his fair share of injuries. Second, he’s voiced that he wants to play in LA. First sign of physical discomfort or emotional unhappiness, I have a difficult time seeing him gutting it out when his mind is probably on the beaches in Cali. Finally, he’s already proven that he’s willing to sit out games. Past history is not an indication of future results, but it does lay out what’s in the range of outcomes. The risk/reward is huge if Kawhi balls out and you are able to scoop him at a good value. I’m more pessimistic than most, but I can’t completely fade him, so I have him here. If he falls to the 3rd-4th round, I’m more than happy to take the risk, but I don’t see him getting past the 2nd round. By the way, I have him down for 23 minutes per game, which is my way of accounting for injury and potential time missed.
38) Robert Covington (SF – Philadelphia Sixers)
Another 3 & D metrics whore in the Otto Porter mold. When I watch him play, I cringe at times because he jacks up some horrible shots. With that said, I respect the “Shoot Your Shot” mentality. For fantasy, the shooting percentage is bad, but he provides Threeecolas, boards, and D stats. Don’t expect many dimes though. Shooters shoot right?
39) Draymond Green (PF – Golden State Warriors)
Draymond, you the real MVP. Such a unique player Green is. Can’t build a team around him and he will never be a “franchise” guy, yet he’s arguably the most important player on one of the greatest teams of all time. Draymond was one of eight players last season to be in the 1/1/1 club; 1 threecola, 1 steal, and 1 block per game. The others were Kawhi, Wall, Vucevic, Millsap, Ingram, Cousins, and AD. The turnovers are high at 2.8, but the across-the-board contributions with those juicy assists from the big man position make my trousers elevate a little. With that said, I’m sure many of you think Green should be higher in the rankings…and I’d be fine with that. He’s here because the numbers put him here. My subjectivity was inserted into the process when I allocated each team’s minutes pie and projected the stats for each individual player.
40) LaMarcus Aldridge (PF – San Antonio Spurs)
I’m not a LMA fan. Most of the time, I just end up LMAO when I watch him play. With that said, he is talented and plays for an excellent coach. With DeRozan coming to town, I lowered his usage and shot attempts pretty significantly, yet…..here we are. I expected LMA to be much lower to be honest. Who’s LMAO now? The shooting percentages are good, potential double-dub in points and boards on a nightly basis, and low turnovers are what you’re getting. Don’t expect many dimes or steals and the blocks, while decent, aren’t great for a big man.
41) Will Barton (SG – Denver Nuggets)
Did I mention that I love the Nuggets this year….and every year? His versatility allows him to play multiple positions, which provides a very high floor for his minutes allocation. Coaching staff loves him and why not? He contributes on both offense and defense. The 5 boards and .6 blocks are nice from the guard position.
42) CJ McCollum (SG – Portland Trailblazers)
Solid across the board. Like Urkel, CJ can be annoying….at least to own in fantasy, but you’re happy at the end of each episode/game and tune in for the next show.
43) Ben Simmons (PG – Philadelphia Sixers)
Imagine if Ben could shoot? Oh Lordy! Could be a top 10 player for sure. Has the potential to mess around on any given night and provides the D. I’m sure the ladies appreciate that as well. The field goal percentage is elite because of the dunks and layups. Unfortunately, that has a chance of coming down as teams start to sag off and force Ben to make more Js. The free throw percentage is a real detriment. So are the turnovers. He’s great for punt TO, FT%, and Threeecola teams….which essentially keeps him from being great.
44) Jarrett Allen (C – Brooklyn Nets)
I’m very bullish on Allen this season. For starters, the Nets played at the sixth-fastest pace last season, and I see that continuing this year. After playing 20 minutes per game last year, I have him down for 28 this season. Situation plus opportunity equals potential for fantasy goodies. It’s not quite E=mc2 but it’s close. The Nets have a bunch of shooters on the wings, which leaves plenty of space for Allen to operate in the middle off pick-and-roll or dive action. He’s also a beast in transition and will posterize anyone that is foolish enough to jump.
The FG% is elite and he shoots free throws very well. Don’t expect many dimes or steals, but the blocks will be plentiful and there’s upside in the points and rebound numbers.
45) John Collins (PF – Atlanta Hawks)
I think Collins is going to be a superstar. He’s super athletic and has a nice mid-range game, which has the potential to stretch out to allow him to score from all three levels. He’s also a beast on the boards. The Hawks played at the eighth-fastest pace last season, and there’s a chance that increases this year with Trae Young at the helm. Collins is projected to grab more boards and dish out more dimes than Allen, but Jarrett has the edge in blocks.
46) Nikola Vucevic (C – Orlando Magic)
A surprising member of the 1/1/1 club, Vucevic is a very skilled big man that can do it all. The blocks and field goal percentage are light for a big man, though. In addition, he played more than 70 games in a season twice in his six-year career. With that said, he fills up the stat sheet and won’t kill you in any category.
47) Devin Booker (SG – Phoenix Suns)
The Suns played at the second-fastest clip last season and should continue the blistering pace. The leader of the crew is Booker, who is a professional bucket getter/maker. What elevates him into the top 50 this year is the ability to distribute the ball: 2.6 dimes as a rookie, 3.4 in year two, and 4.7 last season. What could get him into the top 25 are improvements in the D stats. Be aware that he will hurt you in the turnover and field goal percentage departments.
48) Enes Kanter (C – New York Knicks)
Kanter was 10th in double-dubs last season with 39. That number could increase as both Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez are no longer on the team. In addition, I think it’s possible that Kristaps Porzingis doesn’t play at all this season. Even if he does, the minutes will be limited. With Mitchell Robinson behind him on the depth chart, Kanter is in line for a full workload. Points, boards, FG%, and good FT% are what Kanter will provide. Don’t expect dimes or D stats.
49) Myles Turner (C – Indiana Pacers)
I was anticipating a breakout for Turner last season. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Craig brought him up on the pod and I agree with him that he’s still only 21 years old and has massive potential. While Oladipo had a massive 30% usage rate, Myles still was at 20%. The minutes were all over the place at the end of the season but I still believe. The blocks are elite, but he’s light on the boards for a big man and the FG% isn’t great. You do get some threeecolas, though. I would walk 500 Myles…and I would walk 500 more. I believe in you Myles!!!
50) Mike Conley (PG – Memphis Grizzlies)
Conley had season-ending surgery on his heel in January, but all indications are that he’s good to go for the upcoming campaign. After his 2016 season, Conley became overrated for fantasy. After last season, the pendulum has swung in the other direction. The FG% won’t be good, but contributions in threeecolas, points, steals, and a higher number of dimes makes him worth it. The Grizzlies should be much improved from last year, as they’ve had an infusion of talent from both the draft and free agency. In addition, Marc Gasol should be rejuvenated having his backcourt mate back on the floor.
So you don’t have to scroll up and hover the mouse over the menu tab, then click on the appropriate tab, then…..man, I’m getting tired just thinking about it. Here are the: